Day 11: Am I Black Enough? part 4
So, what does it actually mean to be black? If someone can be called a bounty or a coconut for not acting 'black enough, and another person is black because of the one drop rule regardless of their complexion, what about someone who wishes to be lighter in skin colour because they don't like how 'black' their skin is? Would that person who chooses to bleach their skin using creams and whatever else people use to lighten their skin be considered someone who is not 'black ' enough and is acting 'white'? Does that person themselves wish that they were white, or is it just a case of wanting lighter skin because they believe it to be more beautiful? If that is the case then why do some darker skinned people believe that lighter skin is more beautiful?
I’ve been told many times that I’m lucky that I’m black because I won’t get wrinkles so easily and that black people always look younger for longer. This may be true a lot of the time but I don’t think that black people are protesting right now after the murder of George Floyd because they feel lucky to have darker skin. Quite the opposite. I remember as a child in primary school feeling like not the prettiest child because my hair wasn’t like my barbie doll or my skin or any of my facial features. Having thicker lips was something that was unappealing and having a big bottom was something negative. I remember the phrase - 'does my bum look big in this' being common in TV shows, white women would ask their husbands that question and if the answer was yes then the husband is in trouble. Having a big bottom was only a good thing after Jennifer Lopez came on the scene, light skinned Latino and having thicker lips was only OK when Angelina Jolie became known as one of the most beautiful women in the world. But these are attributes that many black women have yet the only difference between us and those women is the colour of our skin. So, I can understand why for some black people they feel like the concept of beauty is the standard of 'white' because that is what the media portrays and we are consistently bombarded with that.
It seems that only now as a people we are finally trying to accept our natural hair. YouTube has an abundance of videos with influencers- black females showing how to take care of afro hair of all types. It’s so easy now for black women all over the world to learn about and love their hair because of this. I was fortunate enough as a child that I learned to care for my hair from my mum, she was a hairdresser and knew how to look after afro hair. Even with that I myself have learned many things from my own daughter about our hair due to the videos she has watched on YouTube. Black women can now work in offices and official kinds of jobs with their natural hair. Growing up we believed that it wasn’t proper to have an afro as it wasn’t professional looking so most black women would straighten their hair (highly damaging) or just wear wigs. This of course added to the perception that we as black women can grow hair or don’t have good hair.